(A Random Post)

My creative well has run rather dry in the last several months. That’s not to imply that I have these glorious Fountains of Bellagio type reservoirs in my head. It’s more of the lawn sprinkler variety. And I’m going to get like a brain aneurysm trying to get this analogy through…but lately it’s like someone’s twisted or bent the garden hose that fuels the sprinkler…? You know? So that…like…there’s no more water coming through…? And the water is the metaphorical representation of my creativity…or perhaps the direct products thereof…? Oh…God…blacking out…BRAIN ANEURYSM

In desperate times like these, I have to look to my everyday life to provide content for my posts. So join me for a special report from the frontlines – an all Life At The Office installment of Choking Yak’s Provoking Facts.

– I woke up a little bit late this morning and was in a wild rush to get out the door, and I realized that to my horror, I was out of black socks. So I snuck into my parent’s room while they slept, and I stole some black socks from my dad’s sock drawer. And let me tell you something – they are very warm! Like my socks are very thin, very wimpy, black dress socks that I bought from Walmart for like 562 for $4. These ones I stole this morning, that I am wearing now…they are just like normal socks…but they are black, and thus I can wear them with my black pants and black shoes and not look like a jackass. Plus, my feet are now very warm. This makes me very happy.

…this post is starting out very well indeed.

– I’m finding that the more meetings you have to go to, the less work you have to personally do, and thus the number of hours you spend in meetings directly correlates with how important you are. For example, I almost never see The Bossman. He’s either in meetings all day designating work to me, or busy at his desk in a conference call (which is like a meeting THROUGH THE PHONE), or answering emails that he got while away on meetings. And I guess I’m slowly moving up, because I’m getting pulled into more and more meetings as time goes. But most of these meetings are for regular status updates and other things of that administrative nature, and so I think the smarter veteran technology guys just skip out on it.

(I’m a “technology” guy. As opposed to being from “business.” Business tells technology what to do, and we tell them how we can’t do it. You see…technology and business are kinda like two rival gangs. Not real gangs, more like those cheesy gangs you see in Broadway musicals.)

Anyway, I was sitting in this hour long meeting yesterday that required probably about six sentences worth of input from me. And three of those sentences were of the “No.” or “…yep.” variety. But the entire meeting, I was obsessed with the shirt of this guy who sat across the table from me – this middle aged stocky Asian man. It was brown, but it had like this…slightly darker brown pattern on it that seemed to fade in and out of sight, like it wasn’t really there. I couldn’t make out what the pattern was, but I’m convinced that if I was able to see those 3D art posters (which I sadly cannot), something would have materialized. Like a spaceship or something. But the thing that bugged me the most was that the shirt had these peculiarly straight wrinkles (…which I guess are called “folds”) that formed a box around his upper torso. Like the sides came down from just inside his shoulders and bottomed across where I’m guessing his third rib would be. It unnerved me because for maybe twenty whole minutes, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else and I couldn’t stop wondering where those folds had come from. And then suddenly it clicked, and I realized it was folded like a new shirt, and he had pulled it out of the box and put it on without ironing out the folds first.

In hindsight, I realize now that was the only possible rational explanation for it, and dedicating twenty minutes and two hundred plus words to it is a colossal waste of time and effort. But sometimes, the proof is in the pudding. (…did I use that correctly? No? Well anyway, you know what I’m trying to say. …?)

– On the way to work today, I had this random craving for a can of coke. And at lunch, it still hadn’t gone away, so I washed down my tasty lunch with a nice cold can of coke. It was delicious. That right there is probably one of the greatest things in life – satisfying that easily satisfied craving. Like how the other day I was jonesin’ for a giant pretzel the whole day…then at like 2:31 PM, I just got up from my desk, went down there and got one…and enjoyed it. If you ask me – and even if you’re not, because I’m telling you anyway – our ability to generally just go out and be able to do that is something that’s almost criminally under appreciated in this crazy modern day world we live in. Like, if you have a random craving to overload your body with massive amounts of either under or over cooked meat via the ritual known as Korean Barbeque…you can conceivably do that any given night if you wanted. And if some skinny kid in Ethiopia has a craving to sit out in the sun for 18 hours with nothing for substinence but the protein in his own muscles…well then he can do that any time he wants as well.

– Five years commuting downtown daily on the TTC has helped me develop two exceptional abilities. The first is a superhuman capacity to hate the public transit in Toronto. But that’s kinda like superstrength or flight in that pretty much everyone’s got that power. But now I’m also able to time my subway naps such that they end almost exactly no earlier and no later than at the stop I get off at. Like in my first year, I would always set like a 25 minute alarm for myself just in case. Then as I fine tuned it after awhile, I would just go to sleep, coming back to consciousness the exact moment the doors would open. I mean, there was still the odd time or two, usually after a near all nighter, when I would overshoot the station. I still remember one time when I woke up at Eglinton West – I was so disoriented at first that I thought I was in another country or something, and I may or may not have screamed out in horror when I first came to. …but for the most part, I’m good enough that I can just take my morning nap, trusting my natural clock to bring me back in exactly 32.5 minutes later or whatever period of time it was.

But lately, I’ve been overshooting my stop at Dundas more often than what’s usual for me (about twice a month, which is approximately two more than my monthly average). The concerning thing is that it’s always by exactly one stop – I always wake up exactly at Queen station. Which isn’t actually a bad thing, because then I get to stop by the Richtree Market Restaurant place and pick up a nice hot chocolate chip muffin for breakfast. I also enjoy walking up to Dundas through the mall before it opens and fills up with high schoolers – there’s something very soothing and calming about the whole thing. So it’s actually a pretty enjoyable experience. Which worries me, because I think I’m like subconsciously doing it now – unknowingly snoozing the internal clocking by exactly one stop so I can treat myself to a fresh muffin and a nice quiet walk to work. How powerful is my subconscious, really? How much power does it actually hold over me? I don’t want to one day head out for work, black out on the subway, and suddenly find myself back in my own bed sleeping in my work clothes an hour later…covered in blood and lying next to a dead hooker. I mean…perfectly fine plans for the weekend, but not for the weekdays!

– I’m on the coffee. I needs it. Which is odd for me, after going through all of university without it – but I guess now I can’t find a soft spot on my schedule (like an organic chemistry lecture) during which I can just black out and recharge the wakefulness batteries. And just like for my alcohol, I need the fruity, girly stuff with some flavour – I don’t really like having it straight. So I’m big on all those hazelnut and vanilla or Irish cream brews…so a lot of the time I have to go downstairs and buy a cup for a buck twenty six. And that bugs me, because then I’m out a buck twenty six, and getting seventy four cents back in change is a real bitch. But that’s how it was…until last week when I was on a random meeting on the other side of the building, and I discovered a much nicer coffee machine on that side – complete with those girly brews, instead of straight Columbian like all the other machines. I suspect it’s because all the business guys and Project Managers are over there, and those are the people that (a) actually care about the quality of their coffee, (b) can actually do something about it, and (c) have actually done something about it. So now whenever I want some nice coffee, I just walk 400 feet over to the nice machine on the other side of the building.

The problem with this is that occasionally I bump into business contacts or project managers that know me, so I feel like I need to have an excuse to be over there, in case they secretly harbour resentment towards me for stealing their brew. So every time I go down there, I also bring along my little notepad and like a whole set of variance report printouts for a status meeting that happened like three months ago, which I’ve kept this long for just this one purpose. This then gives me a two-way pass – “Oh, he’s on his way to a meeting!” or “Oh, he’s on his way back from a meeting…with coffee!” I also keep glancing at my watch to imply that I have a imminent meeting coming up that I don’t want to be late for, which is why I’m over there…even though meetings are generally scheduled to start on the hour, instead of like…eighteen minutes past the hour.

It’s a whole complicated, sorid affair, most of which happens behind the scenes. Office politics. Sometimes I think this place is like Ally McBeal.

– I actually do some work in the office some days as well.

Elaine: What do you do all day?
George: Not that much.
Elaine: Uh huh.
Jerry: I thought that new promotion was supposed to be a lot more work.
George: Yeah, when the season starts. Right now, I sit around pretending that I’m busy.
Jerry: How do you pull that off?
George: I always look annoyed. Yeah, when you look annoyed all the time, people think that you’re busy. Think about it… (acts annoyed for 3 seconds).
Elaine: Yeah, you do! He looks very busy!
Jerry: Yeah, he looks busy! Yeah!

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Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.

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